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2010 September at Steve Wildsmith

Steve Wildsmith

A cross between Rolling Stone, Soldier of Fortune and the Oxford American

Archive for September, 2010

The show in pictures: Black Crowes at The Tennessee Theatre

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A few weeks ago, Southern rockers The Black Crowes stopped by The Tennessee Theatre in downtown Knoxville as part of their “Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys” farewell tour. We interviewed drummer Steve Gorman about some of the band’s highs and lows and the forthcoming hiatus the fellas will be taking when this tour wraps. Daily Times photographer Mark A. Large was there and took some photos for posterity. Lord knows when the band might get back together. Here are his shots:


Drummer Steve Gorman and singer Chris Robinson


Birds of a feather


Chris Robinson


Rich Robinson


Steve Gorman


Chris again


Luther Dickinson


Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys

Written by wildsmith

September 29th, 2010 at 7:55 am

Slayer’s Dave Lombardo: Headbanging is a dangerous game

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About a year ago, the “American Carnage Tour” — the same one stopping by the Civic Coliseum in downtown Knoxville on Thursday, Sept. 30 — was postponed when Tom Araya, singer for the thrash metal outfit Slayer, had to have back surgery.

After it was over, Araya announced that, because of a newly placed disc in his neck, he could no longer headbang. Known for his intensity — slamming his head back and forth, whipping it around in a windmill frenzy of flying hair — Araya has been a fixture with his headbanging ways in American metal. Although he can’t do it any more, he’s at least healthy enough to keep singing and playing the bass, drummer Dave Lombardo told The Daily Times this week.

“Tom’s doing great — he’s coming along great and he’s not headbanging, which I’m glad because we don’t want that to happen again,” Lombardo said. “I would assume (his injuries) were caused by it … I actually think it was how he headbanged; what he was doing the past two years probably was the source of his injuries. It wasn’t just going along with the music — he was creating whiplash on himself. There’s a way to headbang, and you’re OK — look at Kerry (King) and Jeff (Hanneman), they’ve been doing it too — but Tom, I think, took it to an extreme where he shouldn’t have gone.”

Written by wildsmith

September 23rd, 2010 at 9:46 am

Local entertainment scene odds and ends …

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  • Local singer-songwriter R.B. Morris shed a little light on his upcoming Oct. 1 gig at The Laurel Theater, 1538 Laurel Ave. in Knoxville’s Fort Sanders neighborhood. It starts at 8 p.m.; tickets are $11 advance/$12 day of show. Here’s what he had to say: “It’s a book release show for this new book of poetry, ‘Keeping the Bees Employed,’ which is at the printer’s now … it’s a little different and I’m into it. Just like the ‘Spies Lies’ record, a little different, though makes no difference in the big picture. I’ll play a lot of music at this show besides featuring some of these new poems. Vince Ilagan and Karly (Stribling, his wife) will accompany me. Yeah, it’ll be a little different.”
  • The second annual Knoxville Horror Film Festival will be held at Relix Variety Theatre (1208 N. Central Ave. in Knoxville) on Oct. 22 and 23, 2010. Friday night will be dedicated to a program of short horror films, running about five hours. Our primary focus is to champion films made in Knoxville and throughout the American Southeast, regardless of budget or production value. On Sat., Oct. 23, organizers will present the KHFF Awards ceremony (including the winners of our first annual KHFF Screenplay Contest), special out-of-competition screenings, a musical performance by Damaged Patients and the Knoxville premiere of Marc Price’s infamously micro-budgeted zombie film “Colin,” which film fans may recall from the press hubbub during 2009’s Cannes Film Festival. (It was purportedly shot for $70.) Tickets will be made available — individually and as part of a discounted festival pass — beginning in October. KHFF is currently accepting submissions for its 2010 short films program, with a deadline of October 1 and a late deadline of October 10. For more information, check out the website.
  • Texas expatriate and comedy singer-songwriter “Sneaky” Pete Rizzo, whom we profile every year about this time, has completed his first CD recorded in East Tennessee and is preparing for an October CD release party at Hastings Music, Books and More, 501 N. Foothills Plaza Drive in Maryville. He wrote this week about the album, titled “Smoky Mountain Mischief”: “There are 13 songs, and almost all are funny. There are several that mention East Tennessee, and one mentions The Daily Times. Even got one about Dolly Wood (no, I didn’t misspell it). I just have to get the production thing going with my friend in College Station, but there is plenty of time to get everything done by the last week in October.” Can’t wait to hear it, Pete!
  • It ain’t easy, being a member of local scum-punk outfit The Dirty Works. Guitarist Steven Crime — make that former guitarist Steven Crime — is now doing time and has been replaced by a righteous-sounding fella by the name of Sam Murder. Writes front man Christopher Scum: “He’s brought a fresh breath of hate into an already volatile band, so hes a keeper; not to mention he plays like a S.O.B.!” It’s worth noting that of the two members of the three-piece we interviewed in an August 2009 piece on the band, none are still a part of the project. Can’t keep a good man — or band — down, though, so kudos to Scum for persevering.
  • It was only a month ago that we profiled the local metal band Against the Opposition, and now those cats have gone and changed names. It’s a good thing, however, because big things are in the works. According to singer Joel Rainwater, the band is now called Morior Invictus (Latin meaning death before defeat). Stay tuned for future Morior Invictus news …

The Dirty Guv’nahs look back and ahead

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It’s a personal point of pride for me, as a local music writer, that I was the first to write about local roots-rock outfit The Dirty Guv’nahs, back in April 2007.

Back then, the fellas were just getting started; they’d released a rough-and-tumble EP that showed potential but didn’t know what the future might hold. We followed those boys closely, though — writing stories about them again in December 2007, April 2009 and October 2009.

We reviewed their most recent album, “Youth Is In Our Blood,” back in June of this year. Friday night, Sept. 24, the guys will have a “proper” CD release for “Youth” at The Bijou Theatre, 803 S. Gay St. in downtown Knoxville; The Black Cadillacs will open the show. Unfortunately, it’s sold out, but you can start looking ahead to New Year’s Eve, when the Guv’nahs will return to the Bijou to rock in 2011. (Tickets are $20 and go on sale Oct. 1.)

The guys have come a long way since that first story — winning Best Band in the Metro Pulse’s annual reader’s poll for the past three years — and are considering offers from a number of labels. Won’t be long, I’m sure, that us local writers will have to go through a publicist to chat them up. But that’s OK — because they’ve worked hard, they’re talented and they deserve all of the good things to come their way.

In looking ahead to Friday’s show (and the New Year’s Eve gig), I reached out to Guv’nahs guitarist Justin Hoskins and reminded him of that very first story. I asked him to give it a read and give me his impressions — of the band then, now and in the days to come. He graciously agreed to do so, and I wanted to share it with you. Here it is, in his own words …

Looking back at that article, at the time all we had recorded was a four-song EP in my living room. To go from there to a place like Levon Helm Studios is a pretty outrageous jump. Back in 2007 we were all still in the “honeymoon” of the band just starting. We were happy to to simply book a show anywhere. As the time has passed, a lot has definitely become harder — more travel, a mix of good nights and rough nights, but in a weird way the feeling of excitement is still there. We still love playing shows, and we still love hanging out with each other.

What I would say now to myself three years ago is to enjoy every step, and I think we have done a pretty good job of that. At first, our goal was to play a weekend at Preservation Pub here in town. After playing there several times it was Barley’s, and then the Square Room, and now the Bijou. You can’t skip a step, and each one is important. We went from recording a four-song EP in my house to recording a longer EP at a local studio. From there we recorded our first full length down in Athens, Ga., at Chase Park Studio, and then most recently Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock N.Y.  Each one is a stepping stone and all have to happen. Don’t think you are going to be huge overnight, just work hard to progress and enjoy every little step. Now that we are playing all over the country, it is important to realize that many of these cities haven’t heard us yet.  We have got to win them over and start building there too.

This journey has been amazing and we have gotten to do alot; recording with Levon, playing Bonnaroo, selling out the Bijou. Playing shows all over America to growing crowds.  We don’t take any of it for granted. I would say to myself to really be “in the moment” during all of these cool opportunities. These are all dreams come true and something that, no matter what happens, we will look back at fondly. Play every show as if its your last, and never take for granted you are getting to see great places with great people, doing something that you love.

Well said, Mr. Hoskins. Can’t wait to see what the future brings.

Written by wildsmith

September 23rd, 2010 at 8:10 am

New R.E.M. album coming next year

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I usually keep my blogging limited to local music happenings, but this one hits close to home. I’ve been an R.E.M. fan since the late ’80s, and the fact that the group is still going — and still making music like 2008’s “Accelerate,” which made my year-end best-of list — warms the cynical cockles of my musical heart. Warner Bros. sent out the following press release this morning:



Burbank, CA – R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, and bassist Mike Mills have just finished recording their 15th studio album, which will be released in Spring 2011 by Warner Bros. Records. The band has re-teamed with Grammy Award-winning producer Jacknife Lee, who produced R.E.M.’s acclaimed previous album “Accelerate.” He is also noted for his work on albums by U2, Snow Patrol, The Hives, and indie stalwarts Kasabian, The Editors, Aqualung, and Bloc Party.

R.E.M. and Lee have been recording in New Orleans at the Music Shed and in Berlin at the famed Hansa Studios, where several legendary albums, including David Bowie’s Heroes, U2’s Achtung Baby, and Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life, were made.  Additional recording and mixing was done at the venerable Blackbird Studio in Nashville.

Written by wildsmith

September 21st, 2010 at 5:40 am

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Local scene odds and ends …

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  • There’s a new singer-songwriter night taking place at Downtown Grill and Brewery, 424 S. Gay St. in downtown Knoxville. It’s on Tuesdays (next one is Tuesday, Sept. 21); you have to sign up by 9 p.m., and you get to play two songs.
  • Local hard rock outfit November Sky has called it quits; the members say a new project is in the works.
  • Comedian Brian Posehn has postponed several of his fall dates — including an Oct. 1 gig at The Bijou Theatre in downtown Knoxville — because of scheduling conflicts with a movie part. He pledged on Twitter to make up the dates this winter.
  • That wild-eyed hillbilly preacher known as the singer-songwriter Jon Worley is at it again. This time, he’s tackling The Beatles — specifically, the song “I’ve Got a Feeling” from the band’s 1970 album “Let It Be.” On a Beatles tribute album featuring ukuleles as the primary instrument. “The Beatles Complete on Ukulele” is a bizarre little gem that’s getting quite a bit of recognition, and Worley’s contribution is one of several on the record, but together as a project by David Barratt and Roger Greenawalt. You can download the album for free; here’s the link to Worley’s gritty version.
  • As reported last week by the local alt-weekly, the three-piece local band Royal Bangs have signed with Glassnote Records. The group is currently working on the follow-up to last year’s “Let It Beep,” which wound up on our year-end best-of list.

Alnwick Fall Music Festival

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The poster looks creepy, so it’s appropriate, perhaps, that the festival it advertises is being held in the old Alnwick Gym, 2146 Big Springs Road in Maryville. It is, after all, a former school and now home to recreational basketball leagues, weekend wrestling matches and various other community events. It’s an old building, which means if the plaster gets cracked when the band’s on the bill of the Alnwick Fall Music Festival crank up the amps, that’s OK.

WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2

BANDS: VanKale, Fenrir, 1000 Plane Raid, Affliction Asylum

COST: $7

It’s an all-ages show. Here’s the poster:


Written by wildsmith

September 10th, 2010 at 9:47 am

Steve Gorman: Black Crowes memories …

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The Black Crowes bring their “Say Good Night to the Bad Guys” Tour to The Tennessee Theatre, 604 S. Gay St. in downtown Knoxville, on Wednesday, and we have an interview with drummer Steve Gorman in tomorrow’s Weekend entertainment section. He talks about the highs and lows of the past nearly quarter-century, and about the making of “Croweology,” the band’s new double-disc set of reworked acoustic gems out of the Crowes catalog.

In going in and re-recording some of those classics, Gorman told me this week, he and his bandmates were able to polish up some gems that had gotten dusty over the years.

“I know for me personally, I’d lost the sense of ‘She Talks to Angels’ (off the group’s 1990 debut “Shake Your Money Maker”),” he said. “A weird thing that happens when you make songs and one gets singled out as a single is that it becomes more popular, and it’s easy to overlook it. It just becomes such a presence, and I hasn’t really thought about it other than ‘This is a song we wrote one day’ in years and years and years.

“After we went back and did it for ‘Croweology,’ I found myself thinking, ‘God, no wonder it was a hit — it’s a great song!’ It was just one of those ridiculous eye-opening things, and it just becomes different when you’re in the middle of it.”

One of the things he won’t take for granted, however, is the time the Crowes spent working with Jimmy Page. In October 1999, the Crowes teamed up with the legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist for a two-night venture at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles; it was captured for posterity as the double-disc “Live at the Greek” album released the next year (featuring mostly Led Zep songs and a few blues covers; the Crowes were contractually obligated to keep their originals — some of which did get played that night — from being included on the album).

“We were 10 years in, so the thrill of being a band that had so-called ‘made it’ was long gone,” Gorman said. “We weren’t questioning if we were a good band or if things were going to happen for us. And I just got to go back and be a dumb fan who couldn’t believe how lucky he is. I mean, no one sits around and thinks, ‘I’m going to play Led Zeppelin songs with Jimmy Page,’ because it doesn’t happen!

“But for us, it did. It was the happiest, most unexpected thing that could come along and just one of those great, specific moments on stage where I felt like I was a little kid in a basement, listening to records and daydreaming.”

Written by wildsmith

September 9th, 2010 at 8:30 am

We’re cuckoo for Kukuly

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The fall concert calendar for that venerable Fort Sanders institution The Laurel Theater was released last week, and in perusing the artists on tap to perform, I noticed something curious about the Gypsy-jazz ensemble The Johnson Swingtet — namely that guitar Kukuly Uriarte isn’t listed in the description of the band’s members.

I immediately set out to uncover the reason why. Could it be … something nefarious??!?!?

Hardly. My investigative reporting skills, a holdover from my days covering crime and all manner of skullduggery in McMinnville, Tenn., still seek out blood where there is none, sometimes. In fact, things couldn’t be better for the Swingtet, or for Uriarte. She’ll still play with band founder Eugene Johnson from time-to-time, but she has a number of other projects to contend with for the time being, she told me last week.

“I decided to focus on my educational show called Cantemos!, which involves teaching kids about Hispanic culture and language through music,” she wrote in an e-mail. “My mom helps me with this show, and we have already been performing at festivals such as Knoxville’s Children Festival of Reading (and) the International Festival at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge. We will be performing this upcoming Saturday (Sept. 11) for Family Learn and Play Day at the World’s Fair Park, organized by the Knox Area Home Visitation Coalition.

“I’m also currently serving as an instructor for a cross cultural folk music project with migrant children in Greene County. The project is funded by Tennessee Arts Commission and organized by Telamon Corporation, a non-profit that operates Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and youth programs for the children of migrant farm workers across the state.

“I will still be playing with the Johnson Swingtet sometimes, but not very often,” she continued. “Other than that, people will probably still see me performing jazz around town when I sit in with other jazz musicians for a few songs.”

So there you have it. Show up to Saturday’s event to check out Kukuly, a wonderful, graceful lady (pictured below) who also teaches guitar lessons and books music for various venues, including Bistro at the Bijou. The Johnson Swingtet, by the way, includes Johnson on guitar and vocals; Steve Karla on lead guitar; Leo Johnson on guitar, vocals and mandolin; Graham Waldrip on bass; and Andy Bryenton on cello. The band’s Laurel date is at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29; tickets to that show are $11 advance/$12 day of show. We’ll catch up with Eugene and fill you in on his supremely talented and mind-blowing ensemble soon.


Written by wildsmith

September 7th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

‘Knoxville’s Got Talent’ competition set

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Talented local hip-hop artist Mr. Kobayashi alerted me to the following event taking place Sunday, Sept. 19, at World’s Fair Park in downtown Knoxville. It’s open to the public, but if you want to be one of the participants, you need to call organizer Becky Booker at 865-237-6968 to schedule an audition. Here’s the lowdown on “Knoxville’s Got Talent”:

Knoxville’s Got Talent is a venue for talented youth from various communities.  It is an event to highlight the positive aspects of our youth and local artists.  We have some very talented youth, and we want to encourage their God-given talent by creating a platform that allows them to showcase such talent.  In  addition, we hope to assist participants in connecting to various resources that would provide once in a lifetime opportunities!

The organizations (non-profit) mainly responsible for organizing this wonderful event are  Youth Leadership Academy of Knoxville and Project 2000, Inc.  We hope to continue this event throughout the year, due to the need for such venue and the excitement that this event has created in various communities surrounding the Knoxville area.  This event is open to the public, and we encourage everyone to attend and be proud of the youth representing our city!  The event is scheduled for Sunday, September 19, 2010 at the World’s Fair Park Amphitheater at 4pm.

For additional information about the event and future auditions, please contact us at (865) 237-6968 or knoxvilles_got_talent@yahoo.com.  Local artists are welcome to attend and gain recognition for accomplished works (recorded material), and possibly participate as vendors.

rebeccats copy

Written by wildsmith

September 7th, 2010 at 4:10 pm